Enriched Preparation integrates high-quality college- and career-ready instruction with strong academic and social supports. These key features can be valuable in any classroom serving formerly off-track or disconnected youth.
College-going and Career-ready Culture
- Staff deliver consistent messages, from intake through graduation, that students are “college material” and postsecondary credentials and career success are the goals.
- Staff continually assess progress through strategic use of data, using postsecondary access and completion as the key measures of program success.
- Staff create a climate focused on acculturation to academic and professional norms, mindsets, and practices as well as personal responsibility for one’s own learning, career and life goals.
- The physical setup and artifacts in the building, and opportunities to experience college classes and college life, enable students to perceive themselves as college students.
- Staff support students to explore a range of career options and to understand their connections to postsecondary programs of study.
College- and Career-ready Curriculum and Instruction
- Curriculum emphasizes deep learning over test preparation, focusing on a solid understanding of key concepts within the core disciplines as well as in technical fields within high-demand career sectors.
- Curriculum is aligned, sequenced and/or contextualized toward increasingly challenging subject matter, building skills needed for entry into credit-bearing college coursework and/or career pathway programs of study.
- Substantial reading and writing takes place daily across the curriculum, and is scaffolded through collaborative group work, literacy circles, digital literacy activities, and other strategies that enable learners with diverse skill levels to support and challenge their peers.
- All students develop thinking, listening, speaking, and inquiry skills through purposeful questioning, opportunities to talk about their learning, and project-based and work-based learning opportunities.
- Staff embed in the curriculum ongoing opportunities to practice college-ready and professional skills and behaviors such as time management, working in teams and problem solving.
- Students have opportunities to explore careers through work-based learning opportunities, such as internships or job shadows.
Intentional Use of Time to Customize Instruction and Accelerate Learning
- Program organizes time flexibly to enable older youth to fulfill family/work responsibilities while working toward graduation and postsecondary goals.
- Program is of sufficient length and intensity to enable youth to both gain a secondary credential and/or get adequately prepared for postsecondary education.
- Staff use regular assessments (face-to-face and web-based), including college placement exams, to diagnose students’ specific learning needs and customize instruction to accelerate learning.
- Staff utilize student data to understand patterns of learning for individual students and customize the course/curriculum to ensure opportunities for acceleration and additional academic supports.
- Technological tools enhance instructional strategies, provide skill-building support and facilitate “anytime, anywhere” learning.
- Students are coached and supported to use time in supplemental learning, online learning, and work and service activities to accomplish learning goals and develop independent work habits.
Personalized Guidance and Support
- Students develop a clear, realistic, and detailed postsecondary and career plan.
- Students develop an understanding of how they learn best, reflecting regularly on what they still must accomplish or master to achieve college and career readiness.
- Program provides leadership, service and work opportunities to build students’ agency, self-advocacy and key academic and career behaviors, such as persistence and time management.
- The program works to strengthen students’ care network, such as child-care and mental health resources, so they have adequate support to address barriers that impede learning.
- Staff develop students’ abilities to have greater responsibility and voice in their own learning and life choices.